Medigap Providers – Who Is the Best One?

There are literally hundreds of companies that provide Medigap insurance nationwide. Different companies work different parts of the country so there are not that many options in each state. But on average, each state will have 30-40 companies offering Medigap plans. So, when you are comparing these diverse and divergent options, what information do you need to know? What company is the very best Medigap provider?

  • First of all, you should understand the standardization of plans. There are 10 standardized plans – see Medigap coverage chart – each plan covers a different number of the Medicare “gaps”. But most importantly, the benefits are the same from company to company. That is, a Plan F with one company is the exact same as a Plan F with another company.
  • Next, you should understand that not all companies offer all of the plans. Of the 10 plans, most companies only offer 2-4 of the plans for sell in each place. This is partly because many of the plans do not have a large market share or interest from consumers. The top three plans have approximately 70% of the market share of all plans sold.
  • The companies are rated by the independent insurance company rating source, AM Best. These ratings go from ‘A+’ through ‘F’. Any company that is rated ‘B+’ or higher is considered to be very good/stable. The ratings are more of an indication of the size (financial size) of the company than anything. AM Best does not rate customer service, etc. of the companies.
  • The rates can vary greatly from one company to another. Although the coverage is the same, and the claim payments, doctor acceptance, etc. is the same as well, the rates can be as much as 75% higher with one company as compared to another (for the same coverage!).

So, who, then, is the best Medigap provider? Well, that really depends in large part on the rates for your specific situation, as well your specific plan needs (Plan F – the most comprehensive plan – or Plan N – a lower level, lower premium plan?).

The bottom line is this – with Medigap plans, due to the standardization of coverage, plan acceptance and claim payments, there is not one company that is categorically better than another.

If you switch from one company to another, you will not notice any differences, other than the name on your card and the explanation of benefits you receive in the mail after a claim is paid. NOTE: Do not make the frequent mistake of thinking that you have a Medicare Supplement when you have a Medicare Advantage plan. Advantage plans replace Medicare – they do not supplement it. And, these plans are obviously not standardized at all.

If you have questions, contact us online or call 877.506.3378.

2012 Medicare Part B Deductible Announced

Today Medicare announced the 2012 Medicare information, including the 2012 Part B deductible. All of the facts and figures about Medicare costs can be found on www.medicare.gov. The one that we are most interested in because it pertains most to Medicare Supplement plans is the 2012 Medicare Part B deductible. In a move that has to be considered surprising, that deductible has decreased (that’s right, decreased – not much in insurance decreases) to $140/year for 2012.

This is a huge “win” for people who have made the wise choice to select Medigap Plan G, which doesn’t cover the Part B deductible but usually saves the insured $20-25/month on premiums. The two plans, F and G, are otherwise the exact same, the only difference being coverage of that Part B deductible. Many people choose ‘G’ for the rate stability, as it historically more rate-stable over time than Plan F.

In the past the premium savings have been greater than the Part B deductible, but not by as much as they will be now. Now, in most ages and zip codes, you can get a Plan G for approximately $300-350/year less than ‘F’. Take out the Part B deductible, which you have to pay on ‘G’, and you’re still saving a couple of hundred dollars a year. Plus, you’re getting a plan that typically increases 75% as much as ‘F’.

I believe most will be very surprised to learn of these changes to the Medicare Part B deductible for next year. It should make Plan G much more attractive, moving forward. Of course, many companies “push” Plan F (for obvious reasons). Some companies don’t even sell Plan G (i.e. AARP, most of the “Blues”). And because of that, many Medicare-eligible people don’t know about ‘G’ or just blindly take the advice that ‘F’ “covers everything”. That is true, but Plan G covers everything except the deductible and you will have a couple extra hundred bucks in your pocket!

If you have questions about how the plans work or want to get quotes based on your age and zip code, you can call us at 877.506.3378 or request a quote on our website Medicare-Supplement.US.